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"Streets for Life" and the 6th Annual UN Global Road Safety Week

Road traffic crashes contribute to more than 1.3 million annual deaths worldwide, with many more suffering from disability. The burden of these deaths and disabilities disproportionately impacts those living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In 2015, an ambitious goal of reducing deaths from crashes by 50% by 2020 was set under the Sustainable Development Goal target 3.6. While significant progress has been made, unfortunately, the world wasn’t able to meet this goal, because of both its aggressive vision and the rapid motorization and urbanization patterns seen across the globe. It thus remains imperative that the work in road safety and injury prevention continues unremittingly from prevention of crashes to adequate post-crash care provision of services. It is encouraging, therefore, that the UN adopted resolution 74/299 to improve global road safety and proclaim a second decade of action to prevent at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit is proud to join the United Nations in acknowledging the UN Road Safety Week 2021 and its theme “Streets for Life,” and lending support for lowering speed limits (30km/h or 20mph) in urban areas to improve the safety for all road users.

Why focus on speed?

In short, reducing speeds saves lives. Lower speeds decrease the probability of a crash and its severity. Speed management is not only paramount to improving road safety, but also for sustainable mobility by creating inclusive environments for non-motorized modes of transport, and to help mitigate the impact of climate change from road transport.

Putting most vulnerable users first

Higher speeds in urban areas disproportionately affect vulnerable road users – motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and children. Globally, there has been a shift in the major cause of death of children and young adults from infectious diseases to road traffic injuries now being the main cause for persons between age 5 and 29 years. Hence, enacting and enforcing lower speed limits on roads where vulnerable road users are exposed to high-speed traffic and in the vicinity of schools and communities will help to limit the number of young pedestrians who are impacted by crashes. The JH-IIRU team is proud to contribute to global efforts to improve road safety through multiple avenues including the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety. Since its inception in 2008, the JH-IIRU team has been involved in activities ranging from evidence generation and intervention evaluation to capacity development and translation of evidence into effective policies and programs across the globe.

Going beyond injury prevention: post-crash scenarios

While speed control measures can be taken to prevent crashes from happening in the first place, they are also effective in reducing the severity of crashes when they happen. In addition to these measures, efforts are also needed to focus on post-crash care to avail appropriate and timely care to affected individuals. These efforts ought to go beyond just the acute phase and include medium to long-term rehabilitation, which is key to restoring functioning and improve the overall well-being of individuals. Increasing focus on the post-crash scenario is important to not only save lives but also to restore the lives of the injured as close as possible to their pre-crash states.

Considering rehabilitation as part of continuum of care

Lack of availability, affordability and accessibility to rehabilitation services is a limiting factor for many who need rehabilitation care. These key population- and systems-level limitations have social and economic consequences for countries if not addressed in a timely manner. Even with limited resources available, enhancing availability of and access to rehabilitation services worldwide provide an opportunity for improving quality of lives of individuals. For road traffic injuries, which disproportionately impact vulnerable road users and younger populations across the globe, rehabilitation services are especially useful in preventing complications from injuries and long-term consequences – health, societal, and economic.

Through the newly launched Learning, Acting, and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS), JH-IIRU leads a multidisciplinary consortium that seeks to bridge this gap, and address the growing rehabilitation needs of populations across the globe. We are working to co-develop systems-based solutions to efficiently and effectively respond to rehabilitation needs of individuals, and develop capacity of providers, leaders and health systems to provide rehabilitation care.

Rehabilitation needs a multisectoral person-centered approach that engages local stakeholders and develops approaches that are demand-driven and contextually relevant to ensure their integration and sustainability. By understanding and addressing the rehabilitation needs of individuals after a crash event, and processes involved, ReLAB-HS will generate empirical evidence that will contribute to strengthened health systems that integrate rehabilitation services as a core service.

Building Back Better with International Day of Disabled Persons 2020

Today is the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons, proclaimed by the United Nations first in 1992 to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities.

Disability is truly a global issue and about 15% of the world’s population—more than one billion people—live with some form of disability, according to the World Health Organization.

The team at Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, including faculty, students, and staff, not only recognize this day of observance and the toll disability takes on so many people around the world, but work day in and day out to address and counter this global burden.

We know from our work and that of colleagues around the world, that disability not only affects the individual, but also has consequences (health, social, and economic) for family members, friends, and the community. In collaboration with partners in Cambodia, Kenya, Malaysia, and Vietnam, our team has worked to understand the long-term health, social and economic impact of disability on individuals, their caregivers, and families. Using a holistic sociological framework to account for the interrelatedness of family structures and economic opportunities, we sought to get insight on the impact of disability, as well as various adaptation and coping strategies employed by individuals and their families.

One limitation to addressing this issue is the lack of timely and reliable data to understand the needs of individuals with disability and the barriers they face in accessing services – health and other services for day-to-day functioning. Our work in collaboration with partners in Uganda focused on adapting and implementing standardized disability assessment tools at the community level to better measure disability as an outcome in children and adults. It has provided evidence on the magnitude of the problem and its health and socio-economic impacts. This body of work focuses on approaches for generating data that can be used for policy and decision-making to better understand and address the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Through research, education, and practice, we’re working to contribute to a world inclusive of individuals with disabilities addressing key issues related to diversity and equity.

As we all strive on a global level to stay safe in the world of COVID-19 and support experts in their work to end this pandemic, we especially embrace this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities theme, “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World.”

For more information and resources on disability and International Day of Disabled Persons, please see the list below:

· International Day of Persons with Disabilities
· International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2020
· Commemorative Event for IDPD 2020: Action Toward a Disability-Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable Post-COVID-19 World
· United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy
· Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
· World Health Organization Overview of Disability
· World Health Organization Fact Sheets on Disability and health
· World Health Organization Disability Facts in Pictures

Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit Leadership Attends United Nations Road Safety Collaboration Meeting

On October 3-4, 2018, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) leadership attended the 26th meeting of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Abdul Bachani, director of JH-IIRU represented the Unit for the meeting, held biannually to discuss global road safety issues. In the fall convention, the UNRSC team shared updates on the United Nations road safety strategy and discussed current and future activities of the UNRSC project groups, including road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash response.

“The latest meeting of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration, once again helped to advance strategy and reinforce capacity development for an issue as critically important as road safety,” said Dr. Bachani, attending his first meeting as director of JH-IIRU. “We’re grateful for the opportunity for this team of collaborators to meet in person and re-engage on such essential topics within the field.”

During the meeting, UNRSC officials also announced details for the 5th UN Global Road Safety Week, which will be held on May 6-12, 2019 with the theme “Leadership for Road Safety.”

In addition to membership with the UNRSC, Dr. Bachani and JH-IIRU are currently working with a consortium of partners to improve road safety in 10 low- and middle-income countries through the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety.​

Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit Leadership Attends United Nations Road Safety Collaboration, Supports New Road Safety Resolution

On April 12-13, 2018, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) leadership, including Director Adnan A. Hyder and Deputy Director Abdul M. Bachani, attended the 25th meeting of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City, New York.

In the meeting, road safety experts discussed implementation of UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/72/271, which aims to improve global road safety through a number of measures including the implementation of vehicle safety regulations of seat belts, airbags, and active safety systems as standard equipment.

“Our team has been integral to this effort over the past few years as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center,” said Dr. Hyder, who chairs one of the working groups of the UNRSC. “Generating evidence to influence global dialogue with our international colleagues has helped lead to this moment and it was a thrill to see these outcomes come to fruition from the UN General Assembly.”

The resolution’s measures will comply with a dozen previously agreed upon global road safety performance targets that align with the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action: road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash response.

Following discussion of the resolution, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed announced the launch of the UN Road Safety Trust Fund. Aimed to continue road safety progress across the globe, the fund will focus on bridging the gaps in the allotment of resources for international action.

“The launch of the road safety fund is a testament to the years of efforts by all partners in UNRSC,” said Dr. Bachani. “We at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit are proud to be part of that process and of this story of change.”

In building the momentum that led to this resolution, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit faculty co-edited world reports on road traffic injuries and child injuries. Through the Unit's previous work with the Road Safety in 10 Countries project, Unit researchers published a handful of papers on the global road safety climate. 

To learn more about JH-IIRU's work in global road safety, please click here.

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Drs. Hyder and Bachani attended meetings of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration in New York City on April 12-13, 2018.

JH-IIRU Participates in the 19th Meeting of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration

Updated April 11, 2014

This week, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) will participate in the 19th meeting of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) in New York City.  The overall goal of the collaboration is to strengthen and facilitate international cooperation and coordination among UN agencies and other international partners to improve road safety as well as to implement UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions and the recommendations of the World Report thereby supporting country programs.

The biannual meetings, which rotate locations internationally call together not only UNRSC members, but also national partners from around the world, including representatives from regional and local ministries of health and transport.

The most current meeting, taking place April 8-9, 2014, will include the Minister of Transport, Argentina and the Deputy Minister of Interior, Russian Federation as keynote speakers. The meeting will have five objectives: 1). to provide an update of the Decade of Action; 2). to discuss implementation of the UNGA resolution; 3). to discuss progress and future global road safety initiatives; 4). to discuss current and future activities of the project groups; 5). to provide updates on UNRSC partner activities and review membership requests.

Updates:

The 19th meeting of the UNRSC concluded with much discussion centering around the past progress and future of global road safety initiatives, including updates on the monitoring and evaluation of the Decade of Action by JH-IIRU director, Adnan Hyder. Also up for discussion: The challenges of police enforcement in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), including lack of equipment.

At the close of the meeting, with WHO Director of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability, Etienne Krug declaring that more needs to be done, more than 40 indicators were being finalized to continue to monitor progress of the Decade of Action. 

Opening Panel
Panel discussion featuring FIA President, Jean Todt; Michele Yeoh of Make Roads Safe; Health Ministers from Argentina and Brazil; and Etienne Krug, WHO

Hyder 2014 UNRSC
JH-IIRU Director Adnan Hyder updates UNRSC members on monitoring and evaluation of the Decade of Action

Krug 2014
Etienne Krug, Director, Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability, WHO, reviews progress of Decade of Action

DiPietro
Gayle DiPietro, GRSP, emphasizing the importance of enforcement

About the UNRSC, courtesy of the World Health Organization (http://who.int/roadsafety/about/en/):  

In April 2004, the United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES58/289 on “Improving global road safety” invited WHO, working in close cooperation with the United Nations regional commissions, to act as coordinator on road safety issues across the United Nations system. The World Health Assembly accepted this invitation in May 2004 and WHO subsequently set up the UN Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) which holds biannual meetings to discuss global road safety issues.

The Collaboration is an informal consultative mechanism whose members are committed to road safety efforts and in particular to the implementation of the recommendations of the World report on road traffic injury prevention. The goal of the Collaboration is to facilitate international cooperation and to strengthen global and regional coordination among UN agencies and other international partners to implement UN General Assembly Resolutions and the recommendations of the World report thereby supporting country programs.